Never Again

For the past three-plus weeks, TJ had this huge ugly red boil on his clavicle which hurt him when we touched it. I thought it had popped up cos of the water in the pool when I took him swimming the day before the boil appeared, but then again, I had taken him to the pool on numerous occasions and nothing happened.

We took him to see our usual GP and was prescribed antiseptic cream to apply. The swell went down, became pink and was softer and I thought, great, it is getting better.

However it never did and it became larger and redder. We saw a few more docs and all said the same thing, that the boil had become an abscess, was infected and the abscess needed to be surgically drained and cleared of the infection.

Last Friday, we got a referral to see a surgeon and had him take a look at TJ’s abscess. And when the surgeon mentioned that TJ had to be under general anesthesia, that he had to fast 6h before the minor surgery and had to stay overnight in the hospital, my heart sank. I didn’t think this would be such a big deal, and actually thought that the doc could drain the infection in the clinic with a needle and a syringe, or even if some kinda surgical procedure needed to be done, it would be just a day surgery.

So while waiting for D to arrive at the clinic for further discussion, I took TJ to get an X-ray done. It was hard… he didn’t like the dimmed room, didn’t like that I had to push him down on the cold metal bed, didn’t want to stay still for the X-ray to be taken, and TJ’s eyes were pleading me to let him go. And of course, that boy had to retake the darn X-ray 3 times cos of all that NG takes, and I had to go through the entire cycle again.

The surgeon wanted to make sure that the infection hadn’t reached his clavicle, cos if it did, we would need an orthopaedic surgeon to be in the operating theatre too.  After checking the X-rays, and by then, D had arrived, we had to go ahead with the procedure cos this abscess had been around for way too long, and it was 1.5 x 2cm large. 

So D-Day was chosen, 5 Oct 09, Monday afternoon at 2pm in Baptist Hospital.

The weekend was so hard for both D and I knowing that TJ had to go through an operation even if it was a minor one. I became really paranoid and thought of the worst possible scenario. I kinda blamed myself for letting the abscess grow so large and for so many weeks.

On the day of his op, D and my helper took TJ to the hospital instead and I stayed overnight at the hospital with TJ. The whole day while I was in school, it was hard to concentrate but I knew D was taking good care of TJ. As much as I would want to be there for my son, I couldn’t take too many days off. So D and I took turns, and I was just relieved that TJ was up and about when I reached the hospital later in the evening. My boy didn’t know what had happened, and according to D, he was good and brave, and didn’t fuss a single bit during the time when he had to fast for 6h before the operation and 4h after the operation.

We were fortunate that we could hook up the PSP, which has been preloaded with lots of TJ’s fav cartoons, to the LCD TV, and this bascially kept TJ entertained during the long hours of waiting. As for us parents, we were thankful for the free internet access and that the entire almost HK$11k hospital bill (not including all the consultations and followups with the surgeon) will be covered by D’s medical insurance. I reckon we may not need to pay anything, or even if we do, it could be a small amount, since we didn’t get a semi-private 2-bedded ward.

The next morning, 6 Oct, I had a major scare when the surgeon told me that TJ might need to stay one more night for more observation. I was not that keen to stay an additional night, partly cos TJ couldn’t quite sleep well in a new place; his roomate and visitors were noisy; and most importantly, D and I would have problems taking an additional day of leave. In fact, D only took half-day leave that day, thinking that we would all be discharged by 12 noon, and he could see us home before going off to work in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, TJ and I had to stay on till the surgeon returns later in the evening for a second look at his open wound, before making the decision. By then, it meant we had to pay an additional day cos we didn’t “checkout” by 1pm. I reckoned if the doc felt it was better for TJ to stay one more night, we would do that and I would just heck it and take another day off, even if it had to be unpaid leave. I thought, “The kids can survive another day without me anyway, and my son is so much more important than school.”

Fortunately, we could be discharged later in the evening, and after going through the heartbreak moment of holding TJ down while the surgeon changed his dressing a second time, I was in a better mood and just wanted to go home. The bill took about an hour to arrive, and D met us at the hospital after work and we were all just thankful that God was watching over TJ and that everything is over.

I simply can’t imagine going through something like that again, hospitals depress me. I thought about those parents whose kids have to go through multiple surgeries or stay long periods in the hospitals, and realised those are the real heroes.

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